Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 19th, 2013, 01:47 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central VA
Posts: 156
Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Before anyone says it, yes, I have searched and searched this forum for some advice that applies, but much of it seems either out of date, conjecture or a debate that provides no clear answer.

I record choral concerts for elementary, middle and high schools for video. I then sell these DVDs to parents, student and families. I'd like to know that I am in full compliance with copyright laws. I do not, at the present time, record weddings.

How do I go about obtaining the proper licensing for these performances? Assuming it takes a few weeks if there is no blanket license, how am I supposed to know what pieces are being performed in enough to time to apply? What is everyone doing in this situation? Being fully aware that outside of the US it appears to be very easy, I don't even know where to begin here. Many of the services that others have mentioned, such as Harry Fox, do not seem to handle the type of license this falls under. Which, from what I can find, is called a "Commercial Videogram Synchronization License". Meanwhile, I have competitors that "claim" be in fully licensed and are keeping me landing projects because of this.

I feel like the guy on "Moonshiners"! I want to be legit, but I don't know where to start. Help!
Rey Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Luckily the UK have a really simple system, but I understand the US situation is more complex. If I didn't use the simple system here, the process would be to shoot the event, itemise the music content, contact copyright agencies, or if they do not hold the rights, the individual record companies, get permission, produce the DVDs. Most people would probably start producing the DVDs, and not wait, because the time delay can be terrible. The dangers of course are that if after producing the DVDs one or more pieces do not get approved or licensed.

There's an element of risk - but problem tracks are pretty well known, so the experienced can avoid problematic artistes or record companies.

Hopefully somebody your side if the water can give accurate advice - but I bet the situation over your way is horrible
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 03:36 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central VA
Posts: 156
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

That's why I cannot believe that many in this industry are going to those lengths, even if they claim to. Difficult to fathom removing a piece where someone's child had a solo well after they preordered a DVD for that reason.

WEVA has a licensing service, but it looks as if it only covers the actual use of a song by the original artist.
Rey Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:02 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Are you using prerecorded music during the show or are you asking about rights for using printed music?
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:08 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 8,421
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

I suspect that licensing costs would far exceed the cost of your product.
Jeff Harper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:09 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central VA
Posts: 156
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Simply recording the choirs performing music. So the rights pertaining to the copyrighted music they are using.
Rey Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

For two years, I did what you describe for an annual school event. Researching who actually administered the rights (not always who wrote it or published it) usually took 30-60 days of calendar time with all the back and forth emails and phone messages. At the end of the day, it wasn't worth it. Licensing costs alone for a typical concert added up to be $300-$500.

But to answer your question, AFAIK, there is no one stop license. Some places won't even return your emails. Others only respond to phone calls and yet others couldn't be bothered with your piddly little job.

Here's a set of links. The first set will help you find who has the copyright to the song. The second will help you track down who may currently administer the rights to it.

Links for researching:
PD Info-Public Domain and Royalty Free Music
The Harry Fox Agency
EMI Music Publishing | Where Songs Live
ASCAP Error Page
Search | BMI.com
SESAC Home
Library of Congress Online Catalogs

Links to popular license administration companies:
Publishers Represented | Music Services
PERMISSIONSplus | Christian Copyright Solutions
http://www.integritymusic.com/copyright
http://www.provident-integrity.com/faq/masteruse.html
The Loving Company - Music Publishing Permission Request
Warner/Chappell Music
www.synchexpress.com

This is the email I sent to a copyright owner while seeking to find out who administers the rights:
To whom it may concern:
We sell DVDs of xyzxyzxyz concert. To do so, we need Synchronization licenses for the works performed. I am trying track down who administers Sync Licenses for <insert publisher name here> Title <insert song title here> by <insert song writer and/or arranger name(s) here>.
Can you point me to who administers sync licenses?

This is the email I sent to a music licensing firm:
re:Request to purchase Synchronization License
To whom it may concern:
We are blah blah blah.*We wish to request terms and conditions for a synchronization license. The project is xyzxyzxyz DVD video*of the blah blah blah school’s live performance of the work named below. *

Song Title: "<insert song title here>" by <insert writer and/or arranger name(s) here>
Project Title: xyzxyzxyz
Project Description: xyzxyzxyz DVD recording*of the school’s live performance of the work. * *
Party to whom license is to be issued: <insert name address of licensee>
Date of Performance: <date>
Date of Release: <date>
Selling Price is $xyz
Quantity: xyz
Territory is US
Admission Fee: none
*
Contact information for the license is: <insert your contact info>
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:49 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central VA
Posts: 156
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Thanks, Les. I cannot begin to imagine the costs involved with an all-day choral event that features 40 groups performing two songs each - which I have been asked to do.

So, does one simply avoid events such as this? Suck it up and pay the exorbitant fees involved (even though the costs practically wipe out any profit that would have been there for me)? Go ahead and take the job seeing as it has been done without these permissions for decades? Talk about frustrating...
Rey Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 08:02 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Willmar, MN
Posts: 1,400
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Rey, when I moved to videography full time seven years ago, I wanted the same straightforward, educated answer you're looking for. I researched for months and asked several video and legal professionals. The straightforward, educated answer I eventually had to force myself to accept was this:

In this country, and in this day and age, it is not possible to do what you're doing and do it legally.

Seriously. The legal model for your business does not exist. You'll get a lot of videographers telling you that you're capturing "incidental audio" but I am convinced that's just an excuse that helps them sleep better at night! ;) In order to legally sell your recordings, you'd have to obtain mechanical reproduction rights for each piece of music performed. If you, as an individual videographer, tried to call each company and request to purchase these rights, you would probably be told that no method exists for them to issue a license for such a small project. Boom - your project is dead, unless you decide to just push forward and sell it, legal rights be damned. Bottom line, your competitors are lying. I guess that's not a surprise. After all, if they're willing to produce these illegal videos, why would they not lie about being "fully licenced"?

In the end, I decided it was simply not worth pursuing this type of work and focused 100% on corporate video where I have complete control of the content.
Chris Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 10:11 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,087
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rey Lowe View Post
Go ahead and take the job seeing as it has been done without these permissions for decades? Talk about frustrating...
The difference is THESE DAYS the likelihood of someone posting a clip online where it can be more easily caught is very high. I USED to do dance recital videos multicam lived switched at a 2500 seat concert hall for VHS sales to the parents (yes... it was THAT long ago that I realized this was a losing proposition). The idea was that NO ONE was going to do anything with the video but watch it in their own home so frankly what I was doing was exactly what anyone with a camcorder would be doing, in the eyes of the organizers. I sold my SERVICES to the dance school and they sold the end product.

Am I claiming it was legal and licensed? No. But if the VHS sales weren't available, every parent would scramble to the front to get footage of THEIR child's dance routine. At the time it seemed like a workable solution. Then the school wanted to up-the-ante on production values, move to DVD and generally increase the attention being paid.

I got out while the getting was good.

The venue had SOCAN licensing for live performance of the material. Frankly, the recording and distribution was the only part that wasn't straight up legal. I got out and won't do that sort of business anymore even though frankly as a technical director/switcher, I'm REALLY good at it.

Do I miss the revenue? Yes. Am I willing to infringe upon someone else's copyright to earn that living today? No.
__________________
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
Shaun Roemich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2013, 11:29 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Columbia,SC
Posts: 806
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Rey,
The licensing on work like that is about reason number 15 not to do it :) I think #1 I can't see how it can be profitable enough to make the time, work, and hassle worth it. #2 having to watch those routines and listen to the black eyed peas for the 99th time. I've got 13 more before we get to licensing, but I think Chris Davis is absolutely right, there's no financial or conceivable way to make it legal. You have to decide intentionally whether to break the law and do it, or find some other way to make some money. Just my 2 cents. Here's a few more. #3 lighting is always terrible. #4 sound is always terrible. Should I go on?
Bill
__________________
Cinema Couture
www.cinemacouture.com
Bill Grant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2013, 05:52 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

As far as I can see the UK Limited Manufacture Licence allows me to correctly licence music for discs that are manufactured & sold in the UK but where the performance was recorded is irrelevant. So the loophole is there to set up a US/UK joint production company to film school concerts in the US & manufacture & distribute the discs in the EU. We would have to work out some sort of back channel to get the finished discs shipped back to the US after they had been sold but I am sure that would not be an insuperable problem:-)

Limited Manufacture Licence (LM)
http://www.prsformusic.com/SiteColle.../LM%20FAQs.pdf
http://www.prsformusic.com/SiteColle...LM%20TandC.pdf
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central VA
Posts: 156
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Very disappointing to read all of these answers, but I do appreciate hearing of your own experiences.

Nigel, you may be my saving grace! I'm on the east coast, so if I could just find a bottle big enough to hold the discs...
Rey Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:21 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Green Bay Wisconsin
Posts: 553
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Rey each of these schools needs to have performance rights to all the songs they perform. If it were me and I wanted to try and chase down licensing, I would pick a school where I was familiar with the choral director, find out where they get their licensing and go backwards from there. Chances are it will be close to a dead end, but it would be an honest attempt.

Another option could be to see if there are local bands who have done DVDs and sold them on a larger scale. We were approached some time ago by one band to do the shooting and editing for their DVD, but passed as the size of the project was beyond our capacity. During discussion I bought up licensing and Eric's answer was "we are going to take care of all licensing" and I left it at that. They did finally produce their DVD, although I know no more about it, the licensing or the success of it. Link to them is here.

BOOGIE AND THE YO-YO'Z
Chip Thome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,087
Re: Straightforward, Educated Answer Needed Regarding Music Licensing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
I bought up licensing and Eric's answer was "we are going to take care of all licensing" and I left it at that.
Under CANADIAN law at least, liability is not transferable and the PRODUCER is required to secure/ensure appropriate clearances. You can't have your client sign a contract saying "I promise to incur all liability stemming from use of copyright material" for instance, at least that is the professional opinion of my legal counsel.
__________________
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
Shaun Roemich is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:01 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network